By Richard Lockwood
The match between Thailand and Nepal at Royals in the ACC Women’s Premier was expected to be an exciting contest as both teams had already won one match in the competition and Nepal had probably been more impressive in their victory over Iran by 221 runs, while Thailand had beaten Bhutan by 79 runs. Today in Chiang Mai, it was déjà vu all over again.
Thailand had defeated Nepal by seven wickets in the last match between the two sides thanks to the efforts of Chanida Sutthiruang who took five wickets to bowl Nepal out for only 38 in the semi-finals of the ACC Women's Championship in 2013, and remarkably today’s match was a near repeat as Thailand bowled out Nepal for 39 and won by eight wickets.
Nepal were obviously confident about the strength of their batting line-up after scoring 284 for 6 against Iran and they choose to bat first on winning the toss. It was no surprise that Chanida took the new ball after producing figures of 5 for 2 against Nepal a year ago. The Nepal openers, Sobha Aale and Sita Magar, survived the first four overs but Chanida struck in the fifth as she had Magar caught and bowled. This looked to be an important wicket as she was player of the match against Iran. Nepal were 2 for 1 after 5 overs.
|Thailand were alert to every chance|
Chanida was enjoying first use of the new ball once again as she soon claimed her second wicket as Aale pushed forward tentatively to fall lbw for 2 and Nepal then lost a third wicket as Sarita Magar was caught behind off Nattaya Boochatham for 2. Nepal were struggling on 8 for 3 from 8 overs.
|Nepal had to scramble for every run|
Nepal had only scored nine runs after 10 overs when the first bowling chance was made, Nattakan Chantham replacing Chanida after an outstanding opening spell of 5-3-3-2 that showed again why she was leading wicket-taker in the last ACC Women's Championship. Sornnarin Tippoch has now taken over from Nattaya who had taken 1 for 6 in her 5 overs. Thailand's captain claimed the fourth wicket as Mamta Chaudhary played across the line to fall lbw.
Nepal's fifth wicket fell in the next over as Kajal Shreshta at last attempted an aggressive shot only to be caught by Narumon Srisuwan as Nattakan claimed her first wicket. Sornnarin had a wonderful time in 2013, being named player of the tournament in the ACC Women's Championship as well as leading Thailand in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Ireland, and she is always in the action as she took a fine diving catch to dismiss Nepal captain Rubina Chhetry caught to leave Nepal on 15 for 6.
Nepal reached drinks on 18 for 6 from 17 overs but their seventh wicket fell in the next over as Sornnarin bowled Neera Rajopadhyay. Thailand have a good varied bowling attack as two more seam bowlers, Sainammin Saenya and Ratanaporn Padunglerd, kept up the pressure on Nepal as the innings reached its halfway point.
Nepal's eighth-wicket pair, Saraswati Chaudhary and Mamta Thapa, were defending stoutly but boundaries were proving elusive. Pundarika Prathanmitr missed a caught behind chance but she made up with a good take above her head to complete a run out as Nepal were now 37 for 8 in 25 overs.
Thailand's captain completed an impressive unbroken spell of 8-2-11-3 but at least Nepal had now bettered the total of 38 they made in 2013 even if it took them 27 overs to do so. Nepal's number 10 did not last long spooning a catch to cover as the ninth wicket fell on 39.
|Sonu Khadka is just short|
The last wicket fell to a run out as Sainammin Saenya fielded the ball quickly and threw to the bowler's end where number 11 Sonu Khadka was backing up too far. Nepal's total of 39 was only one run more than they achieved against Thailand in 2013, so their progress has been somewhat limited. Thailand can be pleased with their performance in the field with Chanida Sutthiruang outstanding as she returned figures of 6-4-3-2.
Only Saraswati Chaudhary reached double figures for Nepal and their innings did not contain a single boundary. Nepal did possess a talented bowling attack but they would struggle to defend a total of 39. It was going to be interesting to see if Thailand would try to be more positive with Nattakan Chantam promoted to open with Naruemol Chaiwai.
After a ten minute break between innings, Thailand had an hour to bat before the scheduled lunch interval. Left-arm seamer Sonu Khadka started with a pacy maiden but Nattakan was immediately off the mark with a single and later in Rubina Chhetry's over hit the first boundary of the match.
|Sita Rana Magar|
Nepal's captain took herself off after an expensive over and Sarita Magar was on to bowl her off-spin and she was joined in the attack by left-arm spinner Sita Magar who bowled superbly against Iran.
|Mamta Thapa gets a stumping|
Thailand's openers were playing confidently but Naruemol came down the wicket to Sarita Magar only to be stumped thanks to some neat glove-work from Mamta Thapa. Nattaya Boochatham was at the crease looking to continue where she left off against Iran when she batted for 166 minutes for her unbeaten 52
Nattaya was taking her time to adjust to facing spin at the start of her innings but Nattakan hit her second four as Thailand reached 25 for 1 after the first 8 overs as they looked to bring a quick end to the match. Thailand were batting very sensibly with Nattakan defending when necessary but pouncing on anything loose as when she pulled off-spinner Neera Rajopadhyay through mid-wicket for her third four. After only 10 overs Thailand were already within eight runs of victory.
Sita Magar made a quick return and she claimed Nepal's second wicket as she found a way past Nattaya's defensive shot as she was bowled for just one. Pundarika Prathanmitr came in at number four and she also likes to go for her shots.
Four runs to win, but Sita Magar kept Thailand waiting by bowling a maiden. But not for long as Nattakan hit the first ball of the 14th over through the covers for four to finish on 25 as Thailand made 40 for 2 to gain an emphatic victory by eight wickets and to go to the top of the table in the ACC Women's Premier 2014.
Two victories in two days for Thailand represents a good start to the competition for the home side with today's performance a great improvement on their first match. Captain Sornnarin Tippoch was named player of the match for 3 wickets, a catch and a run out, but Nepal will be bitterly disappointed by their performance.
ACC Women's Premier 2014
Day 3, Thailand v Nepal at Royal Chiang Mai Golf Course
THAILAND WON BY EIGHT WICKETS
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal 39 all out off 28 overs (S. Tippoch 3-13)
Thailand 36 for 2 off 13 overs
Player of the Match : Sornnarin Tippoch (Thailand)
Filed February 13th, 2014